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Standstill at Namanga Border as Eateries Close Down Over Work Permits Fiasco

Checkpoint Bar and Restaurant in Namanga town is one of the many joints that lost most of the workers following the enforcement of the new laws
Checkpoint Bar and Restaurant in Namanga town is one of the many joints that lost most of the workers following the enforcement of the new laws

Two major eateries at Namanga border town have closed down following enforcement of laws that require aliens to acquire work permits.

Immigration officials at the Namanga border post have been instructed not to allow Tanzanians into the country without permission.

Al -Yasin and Al – Makkah restaurants, which cater for an average of 10, 000 guests daily at the Kenya/Tanzania border, would not open on Friday after 90 per cent of Tanzanian workers failed to report to work.

Area Assistant County Commissioner for Namanga, Alex Mutua, said the two major eateries chose to close down and allow the workers go and seek required documentations before being allowed back.

Mutua said other business outlets affected included beer joints and other small eateries which have closed down because most of the employees are Tanzanians.

“As we speak now, our immigration department at the border point is flocked by hundreds of Tanzanians seeking free work permits which are now a requirement for taking up employment in Kenya for aliens,” said Mutua.

In a separate interview with Kajiado County Commissioner, Harsama Kello, he said the exercise of checking on Tanzanians working in the region has been extended to Loitokitok, Maili Tisa, Ilbissil, Kitengela and Kajiado towns.

“We shall leave no stone unturned on this exercise that started on Wednesday until all the aliens working in the region comply with our requirements,” said Kello on the phone.

Kenyan enforcement team was on Wednesday and Thursday under instruction to ensure foreigners crossing the border have permits.

The new requirement seems to target Tanzanians following what Kenyans living in the neighbouring country underwent in early March.

Kello told The Star on Thursday that all foreigners must pass through immigration offices at the border.

“This is not a new law. It has been there and we now want to enforce it,” he said.

“We have been reluctant to our neighbours because of the cohesion that has been in existence until they (Tanzania) decided to kick out our people.”

Kello said the decision to apply the law was agreed upon by various stakeholders in government.

This was after President John Magufuli threw out Kenyans working and doing businesses in the country for lacking the requisite documents.

President Magufuli, in March this year, also ordered all the cows belonging to Maasai communities in Tanzania to be branded so his government could identify them when carrying out livestock census.

After issuing the order, the Maasai communities living along the borderline of Kenya and Tanzania from Loitokitok in the south of the county to Shompole in Magadi reacted angrily claiming the President was out to lock out Kenyan grazers from entering Tanzania with their livestock during dry spells.

The pastoralist communities from both sides of the border have been assisting each other during drought by allowing their livestock to cross to where they can obtain pasture.

When Magufuli was sworn in as president last year, he introduced levies on Kenyan livestock crossing to graze in his country.

At the Namanga border, Kenyans crossing to buy foodstuff in Tanzania side of Longido District are compelled to pay taxes for what they cross with into Kenya.

Tanzanian immigration officials charge Sh30 as tax for every 2kg packet of maize meal.  


On Thursday Kello said Kenya will not arrest Tanzanians working in the country.

“We give them one week to seek requisite documents such as passports, work permits and residence permits as is specified by law.”

Police have been instructed to take action against those found to have broken the law.

Kello said employers found to have engaged aliens who lack work permits will be fined Sh5 million.

The administrator said while Tanzania is charging East African residents Sh60,000 for work permits, Kenya will issue out the same freely.

It is estimated that there are more than 500, 000 Tanzanians living and working in Kenya, including those in their embassy in Nairobi.

Kello said Tanzanians control 80 per cent of businesses in Namanga town hence should not ‘harass’ Kenyans.



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